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Zoe and Richard - The End


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Hi all,

Not posted on here for a while as life has been manic during the school holidays.

Since Richard's SAH 16 months ago he has changed so much from the man he was. He now only ever has nasty things to say to me and I know most of you will know I was struggling to come to terms with this. Last week I completely lost it and made the decision to end our relationship. I am crying as I write this as half of my life has been spent with Rich and I love him with all my heart but he does things in the house that are dangerous and I no longer feel like I can trust his behaviour. I make him go to bed before me as I worry he may start a fire downstairs (I left him down last week and suddenly the smoke alarms went off and he had tried lighting his fag using the toaster). We have two children aged 5 and 9 and as much as I love Rich these two will always be loved more and there safety is important.

Physically he is getting better but mentally he is struggling and I feel like he needs more help than I can now give him. I have considered perhaps sending him into respite at weekends to give me a break but I believe it will take years for him to get better (if he does at all) so feel like it may be better to end things completely. I am also hoping that by doing it now we can stay good friends before we fall out completely. I am losing my patience with him so find myself retaliating to his comments.

If anyone has any suggestions as ways to avoid our break up please feel free to mention as this really is the last resort and not a decision I am taking lightly. I try to discuss with Richard but due to how the SAH has affected him he no longer discusses feelings etc so I have no idea how this is affecting him.


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My dear, dear Zoe, I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. Silence with a big hug can help so much.

I cried reading your post, as I'm sure many have.

I'm trying hard to find the right words in this reply.

I can understand all that you've said, I have empathy for you.

I know that it's a completely different situation but I do have some understanding from when my husband got ill. I saw him change from the man I fell in love with to a man I hardly knew, he was at times very very hurtful with things he said. I worried too for mine and our daughters safety. I faught really hard to keep the man I loved and our family together.

We have been through so much together but it's made all of us stronger.

We are lucky to have great family and friends around us. I'm not sure we would have made it through without them.

We also have had great help from our gp and hospital staff.

Do you have people around you to help? Have you explained to your family and gp how things are?

If there is a glimmer of hope that you want to hold on to, then do. Don't look back and wish you'd held on tighter.

Yes, your children come first. Don't be so hard on yourself.

I hope nothing I've said has offended you.

Don't bottle up your feelings, you've every right to rant and feel cheated. It's like a bereavement, you need to grieve for what you once had. That's what we were told to do over my husbands illness.

Trust your gut feelings.

Heal the past, live the present, dream the future.

You're all in my thoughts and prayers.

SarahLou Xx

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Hi Zoe,

Are there any Neurophsycologists or counselors involved with you and Richard that may be able to help you reach a decision? It is so sad to read this but I've followed your posts for a long time and you have clearly been a very strong lady and done your very best to make things work. Neither of you asked for this to happen to Richard and i'm sure the impact has been devastating for both of you. I guess you have to weigh up the fact that Richard may always be this way and if that's something you can tolerate for the rest of your life. It is such a horrible position for you to be in.

The only person who can make this decision is you but some support from a neutral person may make it easier for you to decide what is right.

Thinking of you and your family.

Best wishes, Michelle x

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Oh Zoe, I am so sorry that you are facing such a difficult decision!!! I know you have been through the mill and have done everything possible to be there for Richard and help him through his recovery. I can understand your concern for the safety of your children and you, as well - even Richard's own safety is at stake.

I wish I had some magic words that would make everything alright for you - I can only send you huge hugs and keep you all in my thoughts and prayers for the perfect outcome for all of you, whatever that may be.

I don't know what I would do in your situation. You've been so courageous all this time. I agree with Michelle as far as maybe talking to a neuro-psych or counselor - for yourself, if you haven't done so already. They may have some suggestions or know of other resources for dealing with these kinds of things.

The safety of your children and you come first and you all deserve to have peace and happiness in your lives. Know that whatever you decide, it will be the right decision and you'll feel that within your heart and soul. You will always have support here, no matter what!

Sending love and caring thoughts to all of you,


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Oh Zoe, I am so sorry that you are going through such a horrible time. I guess the adage of a ‘brain injury happening to the family not just the person’ resonates particularly loud in your family’s circumstance.

I sometimes look upon brain injury like a game of skittles, with the person who has had the brain injury being the bowling ball, knocking all other family members for six.

I believe you completely when you say that you love Richard. You have a family with him and you have made very definite attempts to rehabilitate Richard’s new circumstances into yours and your children’s lives.

You knew it would not be easy and you anticipated struggles. But as a mother, how far can you adapt when you feel that your children’s physical safety and emotional health is being compromised? On one hand, someone may suggest that a husband and wife have responsibilities to one another; but I firmly believe that as a parent, the overriding responsibility is to the children. It has to be, no matter how difficult this is for the adults.

If I was in your situation, I would consider counselling, which can take different forms.

Some people engage in relationship counselling in an attempt to stay together or to steer their relationship in the right direction. Others need counselling to help them separate in the most civil and constructive way possible. Perhaps you and Richard need to consider these options.

‘Relate’ is an organistion who can offer relationship counselling. I would imagine that you have heard of them, but many people do not know that Relate also help couples separate amicably. It is not just about trying to save relationships.

However, there is another dimension in your circumstance because of Richard’s brain injury.

Perhaps Headway will have some psychologists / counsellors who can either help with the task, or recommend a professional who can. Richard’s emotions have been disrupted massively with his brain injury. His emotional breaks may not be as finely tuned as before, thus making his ability to deal with emotive situations, like a separation, particularly difficult. His fuse may be shorter than before and his ability to be objective may be dented.

Dealing with relationship breakdown is very hard for the majority of people at the best of times. But dealing with a separation when one party has suffered a serious brain injury, may bring an added complication. Will Richard be able to put the children first? Will it be possible to negotiate sensibly with him over financial matters? If I were you, I would not consider going through such steps without professional help.

Going through a separation, even with counselling will be difficult, but with counselling, at least there will be others to help you along the way.

I am well aware that your thoughts of separating have not been made in haste. This is evident in your asking BTG members for advice in how to save your relationship.

But it is perhaps with qualified counsellors who can mediate between you and Richard who will be better placed to help you with the finer details of your decision.

Maybe you could contact both Headway and Relate with your concerns. Explain that you need some relationship advice as a couple, be it to work things out or to ultimately separate; but it needs to be emphasised that one party has a serious brain injury which makes the process of separating a bit different to the run of the mill scenario.

I am sure that at Headway and Relate, you will find some invaluable guidance.

Lynne xx

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Hi Zoe,

I was saddened by your post and really feel for you being faced with this current dilemma. We all know you that it has been a difficult time for you all since Rich was taken ill and we also know that you have given 110% to help him in his recovery. The safety of you and the children are obviously of paramount importance and the daily worries must be an enormous strain for you.

Your final decision will inevitably be a hard one to make, but I guess you have already spent some time trying to weigh it all up and possibly spoken to others for advice, if not maybe Headway have someone who could help. You will know better than any of us how things are between you and the difficulties you face, so whatever you decide, we will be here to listen and support if needed.

Best wishes,


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Zoe, hugs to you. You have really been through it. Counseling with psychologists who specialize in brain injuries can help you and Richard - if not keep your relationship together they can help you both through the separation and with the children. Break ups are hard, my heart goes out to you.

Sandi K.

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Hi zoe I am so sorry it has come to this but I can't say anything that can help make up your mind. I am the one who had the sah but I came out ok on the other side and I know if I thought my children were in any kind of danger I would get rid of that danger. However I would try hard to remain friends so that you can be there when he sees the kids because he will get access and that would worry me more as anything could happen when your not there. I ain't trying to scare you just saying it as it is. You could try sitting down and explaining your fears about the kids to him. Jess.xxx

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I've been where Richard and many others are. Thinking your doing nothing wrong!!

Neurophsycologists & Counselors helped me and my family through a very, very rough patch.

Zoe, you really need to talk to someone. This service should have been offered you. you should be able to access the support at anytime. Either through the Hospital or Social Services.

There are some other excellant sources of support

As Lin has stated I'm sure that at Headway and Relate, you will find some invaluable guidance.

I really hope the comments/replies on this matter help both you and Richard, and of course your family.

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Hi Zoe

So sorry to read your post, the others have given good advice as ever Lynne has explained it how I would have liked too.....

Its so sad that many SAH distroy poeople's lives when its neithers fault, I think that when some say will I be normal again and do things I used to they should take a moment to think of how is could have effected them....

As ever Im rambeling take care sending you warm hugs to you & yours....

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Thank you all for your comments.

We have had a few chats and Richard realises that it is the safety of the kids I am fearful for and that he would need to stop smoking for this to be eliminated but he has also said he is not prepared to stop.

He also said that he doesn't love me like he used to to and I guess this is the same for me as he is not the Richard I married.

I have contacted the social worker and set up a meeting for next wednesday. His folks are coming down sunday morning when they get back but social worker isn't back in till weds so I have said that I am not going to discuss with anyone until then as unfortunately my parents are on holiday and I will have to go through this alone. I have already had his brother phone me and have a go and tell me I should think of other people instead of putting myself first all the time. Veryu hurtful as all I have ever done is what was best for everyone else. So many times i have felt like calling his parents as I was struggling but due to his dads health i decided to go it alone. Looking back, I should have sought help sooner. His auntie and uncle came round today and completely ignored me in front of the kids and said they will come back tomorrow when i am out and he is here with his carer.

I still hope for this to be a friendly split - Richard is still a wonderful person who I adore but we are causing each other more harm than good with the constant sniping at one another, but I now feel threatened at home wondering whether his brother is going to come round to have another go. His brother also had a go at me after speaking to his sister so she is obviously miffed aswell so feel that the friendship we want doesn;t stand a chance. Certain his folks will come in sunday with all guns blazing.

Anyway, as much as I can I will still keep you up to date with Richards progress as I really do hope he continues to improve.

Zoe xx

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My heart goes out to you hun - we all know on here how hard you have tried and how you have put Rich's feelings before your own for a very long time - but at the end of the day the children's safety is of paramount importance. Its all very well Rich's family sitting on their pedastals of judgement, but they're not the ones that have been looking after 24/7 since his SAH - maybe you should invite his sister and/or brother to come and spend a week so they can see what he's like post SAH - even better, get them to look in on this site and read your posts since Rich's SAH. Its so easy to judge when you haven't had the heartache and struggle that you have had with this situation.

Rememeber one thing - we'e always here for you and will never sit in judgement.

Take care of you

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Zoe it's your marriage so no one elses business except yours & Richs. You have fought so hard but I am well aware how hard it is to fight on your own. I am very sad that you are splitting but having read your posts I have to admit to not being totally suprised. I have a friend whose hubby suffered a major brain injury after amotorbike accident & she too tried to hold things together on her own for as long as possible but eventually like you the kids had to come first. Plus you also need to think of yourself in this for once & put yourself first, your happiness is important too. My friend did split with her hubby & it wasn't easy but I do think now his family are much more appreciative of what she had to put up with.

I can't give much advice other than I know things on both sides are not easy but you have to do what is right for you & the children

Wishing you all the luck in the world however things pan out for you & Rich. YOu have been one amazing wife & mother for him, don't ever forget that

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Zoe, I agree with all that Sami (Skippy) has said .... and also that nobody has any right to sit in judgement of the situation that you find yourself in.

We've all seen the struggle that you've had and you've done your absolute best to deal with it. Whatever the circumstances, whether it's a SAH or any other issue, we all deserve some happiness and peace of mind in our life. Life is far too short to fill it with bad memories and it's not good for any child to have to witness what's happening with you and Rich, irrespective of the circumstances.

Keep strong and never feel guilty for the decision that you're having to take .... you know that you're doing the right thing for you and your children and that's all that matters.

If Rich can make a conscious decision over a packet of fags and yours and your children's safety and choose the cigs, then to me, it's not rocket science in my book as to what decision he should have made .... there's plenty of nicotine replacement substances on the market and even the National Health Service will fund it for you, if you go and see your GP.

It's no wonder that you feel so full of hurt, but don't feel guilty, as you've done everything that you can .... If I was you, then I would have done the same thing and probably a lot sooner.


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Hi Zoe

I can only add my sympathies for what you are going through now, you have worked so hard to try and makes thing work as well as look after your young family.

His family need to take a step back and look at what you have been dealing with! I agree with Skippy, let them try your life for a week!

You have got your priorities right, the children come first but you also have to start looking at what you need, because then you will be able to give your children the energy and time that they deserve. The children are having to deal with their dad's SAH too and it can't be helping them at all the way these adults are acting!

Sending you hugs, take care.

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Thinking of you Zoe.

Don't be bullied by other people who have yet to walk a mile in your shoes. Perhaps for now as feelings are running high his family should only visit when you are out or at work. There will be time to build bridges once the dust has settled. Maybe they could visit with the social worker present AFTER you have spoken to her privately about your own situation. That way they can work out what support THEY will now offer Richard if you do decide to separate. Once they've walked in your shoes they may eventually realise they should thank you and show you kindness for all you have done. They also need to know how Richard feels towards you - regardless of the SAH, surely no family would want their son to stay with someone who isn't making him happy?

You have the support of everyone who has read your story and seen how hard you have tried.

Good luck Zoe

Michelle xx

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I cried after reading this! I have had a positive week even recognising I am a different person, a different person who has realised what love really means. Everyone on here has given wonderfl advice. Do what you have to for you and your children, its time for that


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Only you can decide what to do....and do not be afraid of family ...it is you and your hubbys life and children.

If you Love him then fight for him.....if you have have had enough then explain to him without arguing if poss.

My language has got bad since SAH,,,,,,,,so my arguements contain bad words... it isn't your hubby its what he has gone through

Whatever happens. Good luck to you all....


WinB143 xx

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I am so sorry it has come to this Zoe.

I ave read your past posts and can see how long and hard you have fought to keep your relationship going.

You have to look after your children and yourself as well as Richard and as others have said no one has the right to judge you until they have walked a mile in your shoes.


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Oh sweetie - I'm so sorry you are facing this situation right now. As others have said, we have seen how hard you've tried to make things work. His family aren't looking after Rich 24/7, they have no idea what it's like. And do they know that he has said he doesn't love you like before? Don't feel guilty. You are doing what you feel is right for your children and I totally agree. You cannot put their lives at risk. Rich's brain injury has turned him into someone else and I don't think anyone has the right to judge you for putting the kids first. I'm rambling now but I wanted to tell you we're behind you all the way. If you ever want to chat, PM me. Take care xxx

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Thank you everyone.

We met with Richards parents today and it went well. The options are:

1. Rich lives with them - they have spent 10 years converting their 2 bed bungalow into a one bed and have now said they will convert it all back again

2. They buy our house and live here with Richard

3. Richard lives here with a full time carer (but financially this isn't really possible)

I am going to be walking away from this with nothing as I have said I want what is best for Richard. I will be staying here with him until arrangements have been made (3-4 weeks) and then moving in with my parents until I can get a house to rent. That said, we will probably have to sell our house and this could take time.

What upset me most was that during the hour they were here today they never once mentioned our children - it was all about Richard.

Thank you once again for you kind words.


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Hi Zoe,

It broke my heart to hear that Richs parents didn't even mention their grand-children.

I guess that all they can focus on right now is protecting and looking after their son.

I know that you said you would walk away with nothing because you want what is best for Rich, while I fully understand this, and please believe me, I do, please please think very carefully about that. You have your childrens and your future to protect.

I wish you well with everything hun.

I'm sending big hugs.

SarahLou Xx

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Hi Zoe,

Am glad that it went well and you have your own parents to fall back on for a while and who are able to put a roof over yours and your children's head until you're able to get things sorted. It was a shame that they didn't once mention the children, but am sure that they know they're in safe and loving hands with you and you're a good Mum!.... Rich's parents perhaps can't see the wood for the trees at the minute, so don't take it too personally .... I'm sure that over a period of time, it will all get sorted out and life will be on a more even keel for both you and your children ...

Wishing you all the very best Zoe .... you're doing wonderfully well! xxxxxx

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